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Old 09-12-2019, 12:03 AM
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Kam99 Kam99 is offline
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Struggling to finish what I start

Hi,

I've been painting and drawing for quite some time, I went to art school but did poorly, and I've always, since art school have been having the same problem: I can almost never finish an art piece.
I feel that I'm skilled enough, and I feel that in my mind at least it all seems easy enough, but once I sit down to paint or to draw something, it takes me hours to decide on something to paint, and once I finally find it 9 out of 10 times I abandon it, or I just hate it when I finish it.
I've filled volumes of sketchbooks with drawings and paintings that almost seem unfinished I always feel that there's something I'm lacking in my style, I really wish I could start consistently finishing pieces. I wish I had artistic friends I could surround myself with, but I'm very shy, I moved to Chicago 4 years ago and I've attended some drawing meetups and whatnot, but I'm pretty shy to approach other people and make artist friends whom I could exchange ideas with or just get inspired by and learn new techniques.
Even though I went to art school, I've never worked on anything art related (I work in the software industry) which makes me feel a bit unfulfilled and sorry for myself even though I tell everyone this is what I decided to do and that I feel happy with my decision, the truth is I would feel better about myself if I could devote more time to art instead of just chunks of my time. Every now and then I really think that maybe this is not for me and that I should stop all-together, but when I draw and when I paint I really like how I feel, I just wish I could do something with it, I wish I could find what I want to say with it and communicate it in an effective way.
I was wondering if anyone felt the same way I do, and how have you coped with it?
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"I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it's what Yeats called the fascination with what's difficult. I'm only trying to do what I can't do."
- Lucian Freud
Find my artwork here: http://www.instagram.com/camilo_carreno
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:32 PM
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hmshood5 hmshood5 is offline
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Re: Struggling to finish what I start

I have many unfinished paintings in my basement right now. I eventually go back to most of them and complete them, but there are a few that I simply gave up on. But the ones that I do complete always feel good to finish... then there's always the let-down of wondering what to do next.
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:03 PM
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claude j greengrass claude j greengrass is online now
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Re: Struggling to finish what I start

I look at your artwork before I decided to comment. I can see some is not quit finished. That aside, you have a well developed skill in rendering the body and head, neither of which I possess. You and I are a "Jack Sprat" pair. I have difficulty getting started and you have a problem getting finished. I too worked in software 1973-2009. The 0/1, yes/no, linear mode of thinking is difficult to break out of particularly if you been in that mode for a substantial time.

I found that placing an artificial limit on the subjects I paint greatly improved my sense of artistic fulfillment. It just a suggestion, but you could try just using your S.O. as a subject. Only paint/draw her, 20 times. Further, if you are up to the challenge, get a large pad, 20 sheets or more, 18x24 or there about and a large black marking pen. One with a tip that is no smaller than 1/8x3/8 Yes big paper and big marker. Pick one pose. Photograph it and then draw the same pose 20 times.

Somewhere around number 5,6 you will decide that this is a waste of time. By 8,9 you will be angry with me for ever starting on this useless exercise. By number 14/15 you will see that you can do really creative things with the same pose: a break through.

This exercise is not an original idea but I have heard and seen it used elsewhere with quite outstanding results. The originator of this exercise, Mike Bailey, started painting a still life. The first I read about him/this exercise, he had complete about 30+ paintings. When I re-visited this subject a couple of months ago, I found a video and Mike's paintings was 100+ and still going strong. Here is a link to the video. It may help.
https://national-watercolor-society....ctures/3486698

You have to 'sign up' but it's free and well worth 90 minutes of your time to watch all three videos.
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:04 PM
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Re: Struggling to finish what I start

Quote:
Originally Posted by claude j greengrass
I look at your artwork before I decided to comment. I can see some is not quit finished. That aside, you have a well developed skill in rendering the body and head, neither of which I possess. You and I are a "Jack Sprat" pair. I have difficulty getting started and you have a problem getting finished. I too worked in software 1973-2009. The 0/1, yes/no, linear mode of thinking is difficult to break out of particularly if you been in that mode for a substantial time.

I found that placing an artificial limit on the subjects I paint greatly improved my sense of artistic fulfillment. It just a suggestion, but you could try just using your S.O. as a subject. Only paint/draw her, 20 times. Further, if you are up to the challenge, get a large pad, 20 sheets or more, 18x24 or there about and a large black marking pen. One with a tip that is no smaller than 1/8x3/8 Yes big paper and big marker. Pick one pose. Photograph it and then draw the same pose 20 times.

Somewhere around number 5,6 you will decide that this is a waste of time. By 8,9 you will be angry with me for ever starting on this useless exercise. By number 14/15 you will see that you can do really creative things with the same pose: a break through.

This exercise is not an original idea but I have heard and seen it used elsewhere with quite outstanding results. The originator of this exercise, Mike Bailey, started painting a still life. The first I read about him/this exercise, he had complete about 30+ paintings. When I re-visited this subject a couple of months ago, I found a video and Mike's paintings was 100+ and still going strong. Here is a link to the video. It may help.
https://national-watercolor-society....ctures/3486698

You have to 'sign up' but it's free and well worth 90 minutes of your time to watch all three videos.

Hi Claude! I really appreciate you sharing this exercise with me, for some reason the idea of repetition sounds appealing to me, even if in the back of my mind I'm already regretting it, but in general I find it interesting to try and see what the results end up being. Thanks for the video as well, I'll take a look!
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"I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it's what Yeats called the fascination with what's difficult. I'm only trying to do what I can't do."
- Lucian Freud
Find my artwork here: http://www.instagram.com/camilo_carreno
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:09 PM
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Re: Struggling to finish what I start

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmshood5
I have many unfinished paintings in my basement right now. I eventually go back to most of them and complete them, but there are a few that I simply gave up on. But the ones that I do complete always feel good to finish... then there's always the let-down of wondering what to do next.

In my case, everything I do (and because of the size of my work which is pretty small) ends up becoming sketches, or feeling like sketches so coming back to it afterwards or thinking about working further on it most of the times feels pointless, but I actively avoid working big, and the sole thought of it overwhelms me
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"I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it's what Yeats called the fascination with what's difficult. I'm only trying to do what I can't do."
- Lucian Freud
Find my artwork here: http://www.instagram.com/camilo_carreno
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:50 PM
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Re: Struggling to finish what I start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kam99
Hi,

I've been painting and drawing for quite some time, I went to art school but did poorly, and I've always, since art school have been having the same problem: I can almost never finish an art piece.
I feel that I'm skilled enough, and I feel that in my mind at least it all seems easy enough, but once I sit down to paint or to draw something, it takes me hours to decide on something to paint, and once I finally find it 9 out of 10 times I abandon it, or I just hate it when I finish it.
I've filled volumes of sketchbooks with drawings and paintings that almost seem unfinished I always feel that there's something I'm lacking in my style, I really wish I could start consistently finishing pieces. I wish I had artistic friends I could surround myself with, but I'm very shy, I moved to Chicago 4 years ago and I've attended some drawing meetups and whatnot, but I'm pretty shy to approach other people and make artist friends whom I could exchange ideas with or just get inspired by and learn new techniques.
Even though I went to art school, I've never worked on anything art related (I work in the software industry) which makes me feel a bit unfulfilled and sorry for myself even though I tell everyone this is what I decided to do and that I feel happy with my decision, the truth is I would feel better about myself if I could devote more time to art instead of just chunks of my time. Every now and then I really think that maybe this is not for me and that I should stop all-together, but
when I draw and when I paint I really like how I feel, I just wish I could do something with it, I wish I could find what I want to say with it and communicate it in an effective way.
I was wondering if anyone felt the same way I do, and how have you coped with it?




given your talent with portraits, and your shyness, i suggest:
find a local old folks home and sketch/paint/photograph them - with permission of course. they make good models 'cause they tend to sit a lot ... they tend to be friendly/kind ... lonely ... bored ...many would appreciate seeing the processes of portraiture ... the finished products could be quite desirable for the folks themselves and/or for their surviving families after they're gone, And, they'd probably appreciate the attention/conversation/story sharing, etc.
win win win
and a little shovel of tough love - get out of your own darn way and quit wasting the talent you have, it's shameful.



la
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:30 PM
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Kam99 Kam99 is offline
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Re: Struggling to finish what I start

Quote:
Originally Posted by La_
given your talent with portraits, and your shyness, i suggest:
find a local old folks home and sketch/paint/photograph them - with permission of course. they make good models 'cause they tend to sit a lot ... they tend to be friendly/kind ... lonely ... bored ...many would appreciate seeing the processes of portraiture ... the finished products could be quite desirable for the folks themselves and/or for their surviving families after they're gone, And, they'd probably appreciate the attention/conversation/story sharing, etc.
win win win
and a little shovel of tough love - get out of your own darn way and quit wasting the talent you have, it's shameful.



la

Thanks for taking the time to reply! the old folks home thing never occurred to me, there's one nearby I will see how to approach them about it, also thanks for the much needed dose of tough love, one of the first steps to get out of my way, I figured, was to come back to the forum (for lack of a community of local artist friends) and share thoughts and feedback with other fellow artists, and it has helped me a lot to get back on the saddle and put in a little more time in the easel
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"I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it's what Yeats called the fascination with what's difficult. I'm only trying to do what I can't do."
- Lucian Freud
Find my artwork here: http://www.instagram.com/camilo_carreno
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Old 09-15-2019, 08:45 PM
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Re: Struggling to finish what I start

I never have finished work. I leave parts of it undone. At some point I throw my hands up and say Blank-it, it is DONE! Then the party starts! I purposefully leave places where people can see how it is done. Have you ever seen a straw bale house? They leave a little window in the wall (on the inside somewhere) that shows people that yes, there is actually straw making up the walls of the house. It is called the "Truth Window." To me, finished work is too smooth and toy-like. I like to have some roughness in my work. old rusty nails, or crumbling walls. Nothing is perfect or permanent. (I seem to say).

So what areas are unfinished? Can they be selectively unfinished? What is your concept of finished and unfinished? Are you emulating some art you have seen and are unsatisfied with the emulation, or are you creating your own art? There is a lot to uncover, a lot of digging. Perhaps purposefully refuse to finish parts of the work. Allow yourself to un-finish without regret. Possibly it is your style, the style you have been saying you do not have or have not found. Possibly this unfinishedness is part of that style?
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Last edited by Use Her Name : 09-15-2019 at 08:57 PM.
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